Friday 25 April 2014


As you may recall I bought the Donnybrook rules at Salute this year. And here are my initial thoughts prior top playing the game. My opinion may change after playing of course but I think it is equally important to detail my thoughts before a game  takes place.

Firstly the Name to many including myself I thought the name a strange one. It is derived from a suburb of Dublin which holds a fair. This fair had a habit of getting out of hand and thus the word "Donnybrook" came to mean a brawl. Donnybrook as a set of rules covers the period 1660-1760 although it is possible to use them for earlier or later conflicts. Indeed the Donnybrook forum has people working on Medieval to much later periods. Which goes a long way to explain the versatility of the rules. It is quite possible to take the rules and the rule mechanics further than this selected century.

When we think of skirmish rules we really don't know if they are aimed at squad, platoon or even company levels. So lets be clear in these rules we are mostly looking at each player controlling 20-50 figures, or a platoon as it were. Like Saga or Muskets and tomahawks a single point would get a force a set number of figures 4 elites, 8 regular or 12 recruit quality troops (3, 6, or 9 if the troops are mounted). In addition to the rank and file troops there are also special characters which vary from Faction to faction. While the rules are written with 28mm figures in mind they could equally be used for smaller scales, although I would not recommend 10mm or smaller. And 15mm might be a push, just from a skirmish fiddly figure perspective and not because the rules could not manage it.

Normal games will be one faction against another. Choice of Factions are Army, Civilian Mod (including Rebels and Militia), Covenanters, Highlanders, Cultists, Outlaws (pirates, smugglers Highwaymen etc dependant on the setting) Rapparees and Tribal Factions. The Tribal Faction would of course change character Moors in North Africa, Woodland Indians in North America as examples if different locations are explored.

Given that the rule mechanics were originally devised to fit on a single sheet of A4 a lot of the book is given over to the possible settings for the game. About 1/4 of the book is given over to the settings and while most of us will stick to those we already have terrain for it is a pleasure to see other settings detailed. Starting with the English Possession of  Tangiers, then the 2nd and 3rd Anglo Dutch wars a conflict fought in Europe and North America, Bacon's Rebellion in America, Covenanter Rebellion in Scotland, the persecution of Huguenots throughout France, Argyll Rebellion in Scotland, the Monmouth Rebellion, the Glorious Rebellion (also in England) War of the Grand Alliance (Europe), The Jacobitte Wars in Ireland and Scotland. King Williams War in Canada, The Darien Adventure (central America). The Witch Trials Europe and the new world and even the War od Spanish Succession are all mentioned as places suitable to play Donnybrook. Most of these settings I have only a cursory knowledge of but it is clear Barry Hilton knows much more. Needless to say not all factions are available in all settings. No Rapparees in Tangiers for example!

For me it is this background all of which is very real that adds so much flavour to the rules. Each of the settings I read and thought "Hmmmm That has possibilities!" Some settings I am more drawn towards than others, living less than a mile from the river Medway the Anglo Dutch wars might seem an obvious choice for me. But at present no firm decision has been made as to where I will set any games. SO no new Project alerts just yet, although you might expect one to rear it's head soon.

Overall I am very impressed with the rules, they are very simple and straightforward. There is a lot of background information and it is all very well presented. Overall I would have no reason not to recommend them and do look forward to playing them.

I hope you found this useful  and I will hope to post again on Sunday. Until then take care and roll high on all the dice! Best wishes Clint

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Doll Drums

No not a new girl band-although the name would make sense. Just the fact that I am struggling to get anything wargames productive. Still I have managed to get one Armoured lorry for the SCW done. The figure is Pendraken 10mm (code SCV3) Republican armoured Truck. It comes with the option of an open top but as you can see I have selected a closed top with a Machine gun. It is a big lump for a 10mm vehicle, noticeably larger than a T26 tank. In essence this armoured truck is a "normal truck" covered in boiler plate. It does have a single machine gun facing forward but no provision for Anti-aircraft mounts as aircraft were still very rare in the SCW.  I have given it a very crude camouflage pattern which is similar to many local effects in the Spanish Civil War.

Not in any way the best paint job, but just a vehicle that rounds out my forces a bit more. In many ways it's quite crude and would be limited to roads only being perhaps too heavy for cross country. There would be quite a kafuffle if it got bogged down for example as there would not be any recovery vehicles and as such it would require teams of draft horses to move it, or maybe 2-3 tractors! So for convenience probably best to keep it to a road! Not that many roads would be as we think of them today.

That's it for today. With luck I'll get my mojo back in the next few days. Well here's hoping.

All the best take care and enjoy any sun about. Clint

Monday 21 April 2014

Patrols in the Sudan.

Well yesterday at the club we had a trial game of "Patrols in the Sudan" (PITS) by Peter Pig. I was the ref and Tim took control od the Anglo Egyptians (here after called British) and Graham and Matt took control of the Mahdist forces. Obviously we all make mistakes the first time we play any rules so I am sure mistakes were made yesterday but here is a very brief description of the game.

The Mission was mission 1 from the book and Tim had to Take a patrol up the board and scout a village for enemy troop concentrations. Graham and Matt had to stop him. It was a there and back patrol and being the first one in the book I assumed it would be straight forward.

As Tim's force had a single Cannon he bought that on first and set it up covering the battle field and sent his three scouts ahead. The Scouts failed to scout any terrain to begin with and when they did One scout was ambushed and died instantly Matt bought his poor quality unit out of hiding and managed to shoot the second scout down. Leaving Tim with just one scout. They then rolled on table 1 allowing then Sudanese to bring on an extra piece of terrain! (One of the peculiarities of the rules is that the terrain may change as the game evolves. This may not suit all players as the game does become something of a hide and seek game with the Dervish popping up and disappearing quite rapidly!) So Graham brought on a depression in front of Tim's gun, Creating some dead ground.

Tim then managed to bring on two infantry sections each with an officer and Sargent. Foolishly the young commander Tim split these two sections and rather than have them work together sent them as independent elements up the table. This meant no covering fire as they were out of each others firing arch and  rifle range. One he kept in column  to quickly advance up the board. And Boy yes it did! The other in line crept forward.

Tim's final Infantry section arrives and his last remaining scout comes back to search the depression in front of the cannon he has set up. Matt is able to move his poor unit to where the Column  Infantry is  and despite Tim's attempt at opportunity fire The Mahdist  Unit fell on the column and forced a morale check which sent them fleeing from the board.

Mat was not able to hide the poor quality unit quickly enough and Tim's cannon opened up. Due to the long range and intervening terrain Tim only inflicted one casualty. And thus in the following turn they managed to Hide and reappear in the depression in front of the cannon! The following turn saw them reappear and fire a ragged volley into the cannon, killing the officer and the crew! They then about faced and close assaulted Tim's last scout. Being only a single stand scout it died quickly.

The following turn Tim was able to bring up his third section and Form an edge to fire into the Mardist troops. His other line section went into line and trekked up the table as fast as possible. Graham had a unit of uncommitted Dervish and made them appear by the British and led a charge into them from the flank! Tim's opportunity fire did not stop them and melee was joined. Matt and Graham both managed to get melee attacks onto Tim's foot troops but after 2 turns of melee that section of British heavily out numbered gave up the fight and fled the board as well.

So poor Tim only one unit remaining approached the objective in column. He mad a successful scouting check and located the rest of the Mahdists forces all he had to do now was get back. But due to the rules Graham and Matt were able to "teleport" troops from terrain to terrain and thus it was not long before the British were attacked again.

A veteran fuzzi-wuzzi unit was next able to charge the British. Being only melee armed they had no choice of standing back and firing so they just charged. Tim Rolled good dice and bought sufficient guns to bear. This was not enough to make the attack falter but it would mean that in a morale check the fuzzis would be up against it. In the melee though it was a fuzzie victory. Not sufficiently strong to make the British do anything else but fight on. So Graham hit them with another unit. Despite already being in melee Tim's men managed to fight this one of and sent the Mahdist reeling back with a failed morale check.

Recovering their wits the Mahdists once again charged and while causing casualties to the British were forced back again. But against the Veteran Fuzzies they just did not have sufficient troops being down to the officer and Sargent and a single rifle stand and eventually they also had to flee from the table routed.

Overall: The rules were a bit "Clunky" and did not flow as well as they might. They were adequate for the job and some nice ideas involving hiding troops and not starting with all the terrain on the board and being allowed to bring it on when dice rolls allowed. For me though they did not have the feel I was looking for. So next time I may well try Black Powder!

Thanks for reading and more again in 2 days . All the best Clint.